By Jack Rico
At the beginning of this year, I posted an article titled “The Best Netflix Streaming Movies To Watch Right Now!” that has garnered over 14,000 shares. Even though it was a hit with our users, none of those films were Spanish-language movies. That was done deliberately because I was writing the sequel, so to speak, “The Best ‘Spanish-Language’ Movies Streaming on Netflix!”. Hispanics are have been the largest moviegoing demographic in the United States, per the MPAA, for quite some time and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. But the numbers have declined showing a new growth in DVD and Streaming viewing. Netflix Streaming is known to have the largest library of all streaming platforms with 4622 titles to be exact as of the date of this article, most of them B-movie junk, but there are some gems, specially Spanish-language gems! Actually, some of the best movies of the last 20 years are coming from Spain and Latin America. Because of this, and the fact that Latinos moviegoers are deciding to stay home now, I have compiled a list of the best Spanish-language films on Netflix Streaming and boy are they good! Enjoy.
Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Marquéz (2015, 1hr 30m, Director Justin Webster)
Synopsis: How did a boy from a tiny town on the Caribbean coast become a writer who won the hearts of millions? How did he change our perception of reality with his work? The answers lie in the incredible story of Gabriel García Márquez, the 1982 Nobel Prize winner in Literature. A law-school dropout and political journalist who grew up in the poverty and violence of northern Colombia, Gabriel García Márquez became the writer of globally celebrated, critically-acclaimed books including Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Known as “Gabo” to all of Latin America, Gabriel García Márquez’s sensual, “magical” sensibility leds him to the forefront of the political struggles of the 1970s and 1980s—including a pivotal and previously unknown role in negotiations between Cuban leader Fidel Castro and American President Bill Clinton—and into the hearts of readers across the world.
Libertador (2013, 1hr 58m, Director Alberto Arvelo / Édgar Ramírez, Erich Wildpret, María Valverde)
This is the movie that 6 countries in Latin America have been waiting to see. For the first time, the story of Simón Bolívar, the George Washington of Latin America, comes to the big screen. This Venezuelan/Spanish biopic is to a certain extent shocking because you can’t believe it isn’t a Hollywood production. With a $50 million dollar budget, it should be. It is also one of the rare Hispanic epics you’ll ever see on the big screen. Edgar Ramirez is perfectly casted playing Bolívar and director Alberto Arvelo creates a convincing 1800’s period piece full of well done battle-scenes and marvelous landscapes. The production is top notch; from the costume designs to the casting, not much can be critiqued. This is an enjoyable, illuminating look at one of the great men in Latin American history.
Synopsis: Édgar Ramírez stars as 19th-century revolutionary Simón Bolívar in this epic chronicle of the charismatic leader’s personal evolution. From his aristocratic roots to the loss of his wife, Bolivar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great, this is the story of the events that shaped his destiny.
Sand Dollars (Drama, 2014, 1hr 24m, Directors: Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán / Geraldine Chaplin, Yanet Mojica, Ricardo Ariel Toribio)
Synopsis: In an idyllic seaside city in the Dominican Republic, the long-time relationship between a beautiful and impoverished young local girl and her wealthy European lover (Geraldine Chaplin) is put to the test as issues of class, inequality and exploitation rise to the surface.
También La Lluvia (Drama, 2010, 1hr 43m, Director Icíar Bollaín / Gael García Bernal, Luis Tosar, Karra Elejalde)
Winner of Mexico’s Oscar, the Ariel Award, for Best Ibero-American Film and three Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscar), one of which was Best Original Score for the work of Alberto Iglesias, is as well written, casted, acted, shot and edited movie as you’ll find. Gael García and Tosar deliver great performances about a subject matter that could have easily been misconstrued as a boring documentary. Easy to follow and shot in Bolivia, this film sweeps you into many layers of storytelling and plot twists throughout. It has a realistic vibe to it as it crescendos to an unpredictable ending. If you like dramas that don’t rely on VFX to entertain you, but superb storytelling, you’ll enjoy this greatly.
Synopsis: In this provocative film-within-a-film, a director heads to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to shoot a movie about the trespasses of Christopher Columbus in the New World, only to find the locals protesting present-day exploitation of the poor.
La Casa Del Fin De Los Tiempos (2003, 1hr 41m, Director Alejandro Hidalgo / Rosmel Bustamante, Adriana Calzadilla, Simona Chirinos )
Synopsis: Dulce is a mother of two who experiences terrifying encounters with apparitions inside her old house, a place where a tragedy occurs. Thirty years later, an elderly Dulce returns home to decipher the mystery that has tormented her for so long.
El Callejón De Los Milagros (1998, 2hrs 20m, Director Jorge Fons /Salma Hayek, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, María Rojo)
Synopsis: Based on the Nobel Prize Winner’s novel, the Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz. The story, translated from El Cairo to Mexico City’s downtown, narrates the life of the members of the neighbourhood and the connection between them Don Ru, the owner of the local pub; Eusebia, his wife; Chava, his son and Abel his friend, who emigrate to USA in search of fortune; Susanita, the single landtender always dreaming to marry a good man; Guicho, the pub’s employee, who extracts the money when Don Ru is not there and finally marries Susanita; Alma, the very good looking girl, the Abel’s dream, who becomes a luxury prostitute while he’s away; Jimmy, the handsome young man Don Ru becomes infatuated with, etc. This movie won the Ariel (the Mexican Oscar) as best movie in 1995.
La Mujer De Mi Hermano (2006, R, 1hr 29m, Director Ricardo de Montreuil / Bárbara Mori, Christian Meier, Manolo Cardona)
Synopsis: Unable to get intimate with her husband of 10 years, a woman embarks on a steamy affair with his brother.